Avolites, the global lighting and video control company, celebrated 45 years in the business on 7 May 2021. The company began in 1967, producing its first touring dimmer rack from a base under a railway arch in Hammersmith in London.
It then went on to create the landmark Avolites LD dimmer (later known as the FD dimmer) and has been at the cutting edge of lighting events technology ever since, culminating in the recent release of the flagship Diamond 9 console.
The Avolites journey
Avolites combines a belief in the power of technology to bring the creative vision to life with a reputation for reliable, ergonomically designed interfaces. Its approach to product innovation has allowed shows to become bigger, more demanding and more immersive over the past four decades.
Ian Walley created the company in 1976, taking its name from the AVO meter that he carried with him at load-ins. Since then, Avolites has created a variety of lighting control and networking products, media servers, accessories, and software and is particularly well-known for its range of lighting control consoles and dimmer racks.
This includes the first generation of consoles designed to control the new intelligent lighting products that were emerging onto the market in the 1990s, such as the Pearl, Sapphire, and first Diamond consoles. It also created the Art series of dimmers, the PowerCube dimmer/distribution and its own Titan lighting control software.
More recently, Avolites moved into media servers, launching its ‘Ai’ software platform (used as part of the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics) and the Synergy software feature set. Last year, blooloop spoke to the team to find out more about the Avolites journey from lighting control to complete visual solutions.
In early 2021, Avolites then launched the Diamond 9, its most advanced console yet. Along the way, the original FD dimmer was updated many times too, culminating in the most recent version, the Art 2020.
Putting customers’ needs first
“At the heart of every technology decision or innovation lie our users and customers; the lighting and video designers and operators, who use the tools we create,” says Avolites Managing Director, Paul Wong.
“Avolites has always been about the people who use its products. All our best product innovations are born from hundreds of conversations and consultations of users and customers. It is why our software platforms have a visually led, intuitive user interface, with no intense training required to get up and running.”
The company has seen corporate changes over the years, including a brief stint where it was owned by a TV company before a management buy-out led by current Chairman Richard Salzedo, Steve Warren, now Avolites’ New Business Director, and Meena Varatharajan, the company’s retired Finance and Logistics Director.
Now, Wong leads a new team of directors and is looking forward to the next 45 years, having weathered the COVID-19 storm and launched a new brand identity and logo.
“I feel extremely proud to be able to lead such a great British brand into the future, together with our highly talented and dynamic board of directors, some long-serving employees, others new to the company,” says Wong.
“With our leadership team ready and in place, and a dedicated, talented, and growing number of staff, we are all set and committed to building on what has come before, serving our loyal customers by enabling their creative ambition to become a visual reality. Here’s to the next 45 years!”
Looking forward to a bright future
“Looking back to when we took the company over from corporate ownership in 1991, it is remarkable to think of how much has changed and where we are now,” adds Salzedo.
“I have been exceptionally fortunate to have terrific business partners, Steve Warren and Meena Varatharajan and we have worked with great, employees, and customers over the years who make up the Avolites family, many of whom have gone on to become good friends.
“Along the way, we have had our share of good, although I’m sure 2020 will not go down as a fabulous year for anyone in our industry however we see a strong bright future going forward. None of what has been achieved would have been possible without the backing of the Avolites family.
“Steve, Meena and I are extremely proud of what Avolites has achieved over the years, and we are excited about the future of the company. My ambition has always been to build a sustainable company that will outlast us to continue our mission of producing great products. With the new team, we see this happening perfectly before our eyes.”
Earlier this month, the company released the latest version of its Titan integrated lighting and media control software, which includes a new Timeline feature set